October 10, 2019

It’s that nagging question in the back of your mind that you’re not sure you want the answer to. “Do I have sleep apnea?”

Whether you feel groggy and fatigued on a full night’s rest or you wake yourself up with your snoring, you probably wonder what’s wrong. People often leap immediately to worst case scenarios and think they have sleep apnea. However, that’s not always the case. We hope that this post can inform and educate enough to decide whether or not you need a sleep study. The good news is that we have a local expert on hand, our very own Christina Finnerty.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

According to the Mayo Clinic, sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. If you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, you might have sleep apnea. There are three main types of the condition:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea: The most common form that occurs when throat muscles relax and the tongue can obstruct the airway.
  • Central sleep apnea: Occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome: Also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea. This occurs when someone has both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Why Should I Get A Sleep Study?

Christina Finnerty of Comprehensive Primary Care & Wellness Center in Idaho Falls explains some of the causes of sleep apnea and why you should get a sleep study if you suspect you may have sleep apnea.

“Some people say that they snore very loudly but they don’t have any daytime issues so why should they actually get it treated? And one of the reasons it’s really important to know if it’s snoring or obstructive sleep apnea is that you can’t tell by listening to somebody. So, if somebody snores very loudly it could just be a cosmetic issue like a deviated septum, nasal polyps, or maybe allergies. But, if it’s actually a crowded airway where the tongue is falling back into the back of the airway and your oxygen level is dropping at night, there’s a direct correlation with the following: heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, insulin resistance, pain, depression, cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, and more. Sleep is really, really important and maintaining adequate oxygen levels is also important. That’s why sleep studies are so important.”

Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea

  • Loud snoring
  • Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep — which would be reported by another person
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Awakening with a dry mouth
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Difficulty paying attention while awake
  • Irritability

What To Expect From A Sleep Study

To better understand your sleep problem, we will ask you about your sleep habits and about your personal routine and habits. Your work and exercise routines, if you use caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, or any medicines (including over-the-counter medicines). We recommend that you keep a sleep diary for a couple of weeks. Write down when you go to sleep, wake up, and take naps. Also, write down how much you sleep each night, how alert and rested you feel in the morning, as well as how sleepy you feel at various times during the day.

Some sleep disorders are able to be diagnosed by asking questions about sleep schedules and habits. However, others may require the results from a sleep study and other medical tests. Sleep studies allow us to measure how much and how well you sleep. They also help show whether you have sleep problems and how severe they are. Sleep is incredibly important to your overall physical and mental health. We want to help ensure that you’re living your best life. Read more about sleep quality here.

Schedule Your Sleep Study Today

If you’ve wondered whether or not you have sleep apnea, schedule a time to visit with us. The sooner you tackle this issue the better. Your long term health can greatly benefit from improving your sleep. Call us today at 208-715-9990.

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